Mosquito season starts slowly in the spring, when warm weather brings out the first of the bugs. It peaks in summer and tapers off into fall. As the hot weather of summer arrives, mosquito season reaches its peak. The warm temperatures make them pass through their life cycle quicker, so more are laying eggs and more eggs are hatching.
By the end of the summer, you may notice a decline in bites, since there are fewer mosquitoes around. Those which were born earlier in the summer are gradually disappearing. They die from accidents and predators, and fewer new eggs are hatching.
At the end of the mosquito season, the mosquitoes species which die off for the winter won’t disappear completely until frost. They become less active as temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Those that hibernate as adults will begin their dormancy when winter weather arrives. Some may come out on warm winter days, so you might see a few when the temperature is warm enough.
No one can change the temperature or rainfall to control when mosquitoes begin their season. You can discourage them from breeding by eliminating standing water in backyards, around houses, in gutters and ditches. If you want to keep some shallow standing water, such as in a lily-pond or bird-bath, you can use mosquito control methods such as dunks to prevent mosquito larvae from surviving.
The start of mosquito season is also the time to begin control methods such as traps or sprays. Make sure window and door screens are secure. Put up screened gazebos for outside use, and begin wearing long clothing. Be sure to use repellents for camping or other outdoor activities, especially at dawn and dusk.
Local city health departments may offer advice on how to deal with the local mosquito population. For example, the City of Nashville’s health department holds a Backyard Inspection Day at the beginning of May each year. The goal is to educate people about safe ways to prevent mosquito bites and to encourage them to eliminate breeding sites in backyards, such as anything that will hold stagnant water. Still, you’re less apt to be bitten as fall and winter come.
According to the American Mosquito Control Association, there are approximately 3,500 species of mosquitoes, of which, only a couple hundred of them actually feast on human blood. There are only about 150 types of mosquitoes in the U.S., and half of all mosquitoes are Aedes (aka Asian tiger mosquito found in the South).
Mosquitoes do not transmit HIV or AIDS. The viruses are broken down in their stomachs and doesn’t allow the diseases to be passed on.
Just a few inches of water is all it takes for a female to deposit her eggs. Tiny mosquito larvae develop quickly in birdbaths, roof gutters, and old tires dumped in vacant lots. Some species can breed in puddles left after a rainstorm. If you want to keep mosquitoes under control around your home, you need to be vigilant about dumping any standing water every few days.
This may surprise you and most people probably assume all mosquitoes bite, but only female mosquitoes bite humans. Males typically feast on plants. Female mosquitoes bite to feed on your blood. The protein and other compounds provide mosquitoes with a feast that is essential to help them produce and develop their eggs. The Females feast on human blood before they lay eggs. Since they breed continually, a female seeks blood every couple of days.
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide and lactic acid found in our breath and sweat. To be honest they have a bit of an addiction to it. Carbon dioxide is one of the main ways in which mosquitoes locate their next feast. They use a special organ called a maxillary palp to follow the smell of CO2 released from our breath. They use our body heat to find us.
Mosquitoes don’t have teeth. Females take out blood using a long and sharp “straw” called a proboscis. The saliva of the female mosquitoes contain an anti-coagulant which allows her to suck out the blood easier. The anti-coagulant causes the skin irritation and itching.
People with Type O blood attract mosquitoes twice as much as those with Type A blood. Type B blood falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Mosquitoes can detect blood type via a chemical about 85 percent of the population secrete through their skin.
We all know mosquitoes like to enjoy a couple of human blood cocktails, studies have revealed that mosquitoes regularly drink up to three times their weight in blood. You might be a bit scared due to the number of mosquitoes out there, but don’t worry, as not every mosquito craves human blood. Some species prefer to consume their Friday night cocktails from other animals such as frogs and birds. Culiseta melanura, for example, bites birds almost exclusively and rarely bites humans. Another mosquito species, Uranotaenia sapphirina, is known to feed on reptiles and amphibians.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about one mosquito becoming the bane of your existence causing itchy bites for eternity. After spending the first 10 days of their lives in water, these biting insects typically have a lifespan for an estimated two months. For those that winter in your garage, though—look out. Eggs can dry out for eight months and still hatch.
When someone mentions the term “world’s deadliest animal” you probably start thinking of sharks, tigers, crocodiles and other fierce creatures. Well, it may shock you to learn that it’s actually mosquitoes. It’s down to the harmful diseases that they are known to spread. Mosquitoes spread Dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, zika and malaria that infect around 250 million people every year. About 1 million of them die from the diseases annually. The mosquito kills more people every year than all other insects and animals combined (including humans).